It's at this time of year, when the cruising cobwebs come off

It?s at this time of year, when the cruising cobwebs come off, that everything suddenly seems right with the world. Never mind that the flybridge isn?t as warm as it looks, the crew are a little rusty about how to tie a bowline, and you?ve forgotten what all the menus mean on your chart plotter ? it?s just great to be out on the water.

We?ve got plenty this month to help you kick off your season in style. Our Passage Planning Special will get you thinking about your cruising horizons this summer ? good preparation is not only seamanlike it?s also great fun. We look at how to go about making the perfect cruising plan, as well as recalling some of our most memorable passages. This month?s Masterclass tells you all you need to know about cruising at night ? a good skill for any skipper to have.

Making plans must be in the air at the moment, because the other news this month is that after eight years at MBY, two of them at the helm, I feel that the time has come to do something else. So it?s off into the big wide world of freelance journalism, and a more varied diet of cars, bikes and travel, as well as boats.

Without wishing to get too misty-eyed, I?ve had a great time here. Particularly memorable moments include a couple of magical night passages through the Exumas and Bahamas, alone on the flybridge with only a million stars and the reefs for company. Driving a Pro-Vee raceboat, with some other nutter working the throttle, was quite an experience, too. Then there were the Balearics rallies, the Festivals of Power, summers in the Med and winters in the Caribbean. It?s
been a blast.

Before I go, I?d like to say thanks to all the people who?ve helped me over the past eight years (you know who you are!). And thank you, the readers, for tolerating some of my dafter ideas and my penchant for lexicographic adventurism. It?s been fun. Cheers!